How Service Dogs Have Helped These Scleroderma Patients

Seventeen-year-old Fallin Turner has scleroderma and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and never leaves the house without her best friend: her Great Dane, Justice.

MORE: Ten benefits of having a service or therapy dog if you have scleroderma.

According to a report on wuft.org, Justice helps Fallin with pain relief by gently rubbing his nose on her sore joints, helps keep her balanced if she feels dizzy and helps out in an emergency. Fallin has been so impressed with how much Justice has improved her life, she now volunteers for a non-profit organization that trains service dogs for other people with disabilities.

Don Alfera is another person living with scleroderma who understands how much a service dog can benefit someone with a chronic illness. Diagnosed with scleroderma in 1995 while serving in the military, Alfera was sad to have to leave his working partner — a  a drug-detecting black Labrador.

Alfera saw firsthand how competent dogs could be and knew that they could also be trained to help those who had chronic illnesses. Alfera now has a service dog named Brandy and also trains service dogs for others.

MORE: Five sources of pain in scleroderma.

Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

One comment

  1. If possible, can you advise of an organization where i can certify my Golden Doodle as my service dog. She is very effective in knowing when my Raynauds is about to flare. I want to travel by air but am unaware of rights i may have in being disabled. I cant place her in baggage and fly without her. Any information would be greatly appreciated.l

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